Jaw-Dropping Video Shows Octopus Battle Eel in California Tide pool

A stunning video has captured the moment an octopus battled an eel in a California tide pool.

The video was captured by UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher E. Anne Chambers, while she was tide pooling at Shelter Cove in Humboldt County, California. She posted the video to Twitter, describing it as one of the "most incredible wildlife encounters" she's ever had.

The video starts with a shot of the bright red octopus curling its arms around another creature. The long black creature—which appears to be a monkeyface eel—frantically tries to get away from the octopus, thrashing around in the shallow water.

The octopus' head is concealed under a rock, and only its tentacles are visible as they curl around the prey.

Octopus eating eel
A picture shows the octopus emerging from its hiding place and smothering its prey. E. Anne Chambers

An octopus will kill its prey by stinging them with toxins, which are injected from its tentacles. The venom then paralyzes the prey. Once paralyzed, the octopus eats it with its mouth, which is on its underside.

After a lot of thrashing around, the eel falls further down the rock and appears motionless.

Gradually, the octopus' arms emerge from the rock and continue wrapping around the fish.

The video then cuts to Chambers' companion, who is standing on the rock above the octopus with a look described as "sheer terror."

The octopus can then be seen fully emerging from its hiding place in the rock, revealing its head. It gradually smothers the fish with its body, bundling it up into its mouth.

As it emerges from its hiding place, it can be seen rapidly changing color.

Although naturally a reddish, brown color, octopuses are masters of disguise and can change their colors and textures rapidly to adapt to their surrounding environment. They do this to camouflage themselves from predators.

Chambers said this process was "jaw-dropping" to see in person.

The eel makes one last attempt for freedom towards the end of the video, where it thrashes about once more.

The octopus, however, has it tightly locked in its arms.

"The spoiler is that the fish doesn't win," Chambers said in a second Twitter post. "The octopus went back into hiding after this video ends."

It is not certain what species of octopus this is, but it could be a giant Pacific octopus, which is the biggest octopus species in the world. Fully grown, the creature can weigh more than 50 pounds. The biggest giant Pacific octopus ever spotted was 200 pounds and measured 20 feet.

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